Next year I am going to look back and be utterly mortified that I chose this ridiculous photo to commemorate my turning 40, but you know what?  Get a grip, next-year-me. I liked my face on this particular day and was feeling goofy and fun, and what’s wrong with that, anyhow? I mean, you’d almost think that we live in a world where we are trained to hate the way we look and should feel ashamed to feel decent about ourselves every once in a blue moon, but, naaaahhh… that couldn’t possibly be true, could it?


Oh–shit! There I am again!  “What’s with this broad?” you may be wondering.  “Can’t she keep her goddamned face to herself? HA and NO. Not today, face-haters. Not today.
And anyway, isn’t it great, this world we live in? Where we can look at our friend’s wonderful faces every day, even when we’re a million miles apart? I love all of your gorgeous, goofy mugs. Thanks for tolerating mine.

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In a fit of extravagance, I had ordered some birthday gifts for myself over a month and a half ago and I figured that would give them plenty of time to arrive, but one piece is custom & hand-made and the others were ordered during a highly anticipated sale, so I suppose I should have known better. Still, it was kind of a bummer, as I had hoped I would have them in time for a birthday weekend extravaganza where everyone could ooh and ahh over them and I could bask in the warm glow of strangers thinking I have exceptional taste. Ah, well. Such problems we should all have.

Instead, I received a very unexpected, thoroughly marvelous parcel from a dear friend, full of extraordinary magics.  First: a chocolate birthday Babka! Isn’t it gorgeous? I could have gazed rapturously upon its gently-spiced, sweetly-yeasted, chocolatey visage all day long, but I had to eat it eventually, you know.  I hope you’ll not think less of me for that.

And a piece of embroidery from YourGothicGranny! I nearly cried with laughter when I saw the phrase embroidered in those sweet, delicate stitches, “a lonely flute in the fog of yourself”.  This ridiculous translation of a French perfume’s description had us in stitches a few weeks ago, if you’ll pardon the pun, and I love that I will forever have a reminder of its absurdity! Even if the fragrance itself turned out to be completely unmemorable.


And what’s this!  Some original art from my insanely talented parter-in-crime, Becky Munich (and rumor has it that you will see this piece–and others–in a highly anticipated, forthcoming Gothic zine!) And a tee-shirt that she designed for Sabbath Assembly, an unearthly, unsettling purveyor of dark, freaky sounds.


Speaking of music, lovely Sasha gifted me a copy of her band’s new release, Emerald Posies! “With the mercurial force of an ancient spell, Suspirea burst into existence fully formed. Singer/guitarist Sasha Soukup & Cellist Bluebird Gaia rallied together & immediately started creating their own musical witches brew. The ingredients are simple: girl-group harmonies, gothic menace, traditional folk songs & a dash of progressive weirdness.”  Doesn’t that sound amazing?  I am so excited to give it a listen!


And lastly: CATS. From my darling BGF. Because of course!

(…also: not pictured is the beautiful mortar and pestle set from my beloved for the grinding of spices and the making of garlic paste.  And a really cooler muddler/shaker for the creation of fancy cocktails!)


On Friday night we drove into Orlando for a screening of Gothic at Carmine Boutique.  Ken Russell’s frenzied, hallucinatory depiction of that infamous night at the Villa Diodati is a film dear to my heart. That baby-faced Julian Sands!  Claire Claremont’s frizzy halo of hair! The outrageously diabolical Lord Byron!   I love all of it and it was such a treat to see it again, especially in what has become one of my favorite strange & unsual places to visit in central Florida!

On Saturday night we attended the Florence + The Machine performance at the Amway Arena. Normally I avoid venues like this. Too many people, too crowded, parking is too much of a production, etc., etc. I don’t like asking anyone to go to that sort of trouble for me.  But I did this time around and I am very glad that I did. For such an enormous arena, it was a surprisingly intimate show…and what a whirling dervish she was! What a magical, transcendent voice.

I wept when she took the stage and opened with What The Water Gave Me. I remembered where I was when I heard it for the first time–6 years ago, still in NJ, trapped in a town that was flooded and under water for a week– and how miserable I was, but also how the song moved me, shook me, changed me. And this weekend I heard it performed live by Florence herself, in the company of those I love best in this world. And I rejoiced. I was resplendently happy, so much so, that I could not contain my happiness. It flowed down my cheeks and dripped off my chin and I was grateful for it.  For all of it, and everything.
For moving waters and changes and love. So much love.

Thanks everyone, for loving me so damn much.  I know it sounds cheesy, but I am gonna put it out there, anyhow–40 is going to be a fantastic year.

The Indy Grrl says

I am delighted that such a milestone birthday for you turned out to be filled with lovely things (all the things!) and loving people. I love you, Eldest. Here's to 80 more years together.

S. Elizabeth says

80 more and hopefully several lifetimes more! I'm going to be your cat in my next life :)
(tip: I like sushi-grade tuna, so make sure you have a high paying job)

Allison says

Happy birthday, happy birthday, you magnificent babe!!

S. Elizabeth says

Thank you, my darling friend!

Minna says

I love this, I love you! You deserve all the (slightly creepy and unsettling) beautiful things of the world and the wonderful people in it (and sometimes floating just slightly above).

S. Elizabeth says

THANK YOU! And I love you too! Man, I wish we could just get it together and move out to the PNW and see you all the time <3

Sonya says

YESSSSS you got the Zana bag!!! Happy, happy birthday — so glad to have gotten to know you this bear. <3 <3 <3

^ I wrote "bear" instead of "year" but it's funny so I'm not fixing it.

S. Elizabeth says

YES! And I just emailed their customer service (the site says 2-3 weeks and it's been over a month now...I tried to wait, I really did!) and they said it is being shipped out today. TOTAL BOOKBAG UPGRADE A++

Elle says

Enjoy it! Nothing better than feeling 100% secure in who you are - 40 is awesome!!

S. Elizabeth says

I think I am finally getting close! Maybe 98%--but hey, it would be awfully boring if I had it all figured out now, heh!

Shana says

Happy 40th! I am so glad this year brought us to meeting finally. More meetings this up and coming year (and no more being ran off the road.....ok!) I can't wait to see you again. We will have to plan something soon. I can't wait to see that planchette moth ring on your hand so I can ooohhhh and ahhhh over it!

S. Elizabeth says

Yes, I am so happy to have finally met up with you after all this time! And we definitely need to plan a date for cocktails and artwalks, and oh, whatever else. It seems like you're always up to something fun up there, so no doubt you know all the good stuff to do!

Jamie says

That sounds like a pretty fantastic Birthday. Those photos of you are absolutely stunning as well :D and I especially like your Birthday extravagance with ordering yourself pressies. Gah those Bloodmilk pieces, I envy! Didn't order any during the sale as I knew I'd be moving and didn't want to hazard that plebs coming into our old apartment would get their hands on any postal jewels. And it's incredible how music can take us back somewhere in a split second and calls up memories of a period in ones life. I think my musical equivalent of  'What The Water Gave Me', would be PJ Harvey's 'White Chalk'. Such a sad time when I was listening to that but oh how I love it and reveled in it then and now. Anyway here's to 40! And 40 more!

Maika says

I'm still catching up with the Internets after escaping to the coast for a few days, so please pardon my late comment here. I began reading this post with a huge smile on my face at the sight of your stunning visage and by the end my eyes were spilling happy tears. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful and extended birthday celebration. You deserve ALL the love and ALL the gorgeous things. Hooray for personal growth, precious friendship, breathtaking, transformative experiences, and the myriad wonders intricately woven through them all.

Celephais says

Happy happy happiest of birthdays, belated though it may be. My birthday was on May 5th, and though it may seem silly, I often feel a kinship with other Taureans (or Tureens, as spell check would have liked).

lau says

happy happy birthday, sweet lady and wonderful friend. i've been in a state lately and i'm sorry i missed sending you something, but i'll make it up to you. love! <3

S. Elizabeth says

Aw! That you're even thinking about me is gift enough! Seriously! Even though it is cheesy as hell, it's true. And I am so sorry that your state is not so great lately. Many hugs to you, and hopes that things become brighter and better very soon.

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